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Baby monitors and smart cameras provide peace of mind when you’re away from your baby or your home. You may feel safe with these cameras running in the background, but hackers can easily hijack this window into your world if you aren’t careful.
A recent alert from the UK-based National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reminds us that baby monitors and smart cameras are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The culprit often is an easy to guess password that allows a hacker to access the camera without detection.
There also is a remote access setting that opens the door for hackers to observe a person’s video stream without permission.
What Should I Do?
To prevent these uninvited intrusions, people with baby monitors or smart cameras should change the default password. The factory password is deliberately set to a string like 0000 that is easy to enter. Not only are these passwords used by a variety of manufacturers, but they often are published online in user manuals or support websites.
Instead of the default password, owners should use a password that is unique and not in the dictionary. It also helps to use both letters and symbols in a password, so it is not easy to guess. One way to create a secure, but easy to remember password is to string together three random words or use a password manager.
Even though it’s helpful to watch your camera stream from afar, this remote access is another way hackers can get a hold of a person’s camera. In a high-profile case last year, a hacker tapped into a family’s Ring camera and talked to a young girl in her room.
This problem has been compounded by recent security breaches and software glitches that compromised a camera’s video feed. Ring last year asked customers to change their password after login information was exposed online. Chinese electronics maker Xiaomi earlier this year disabled Google Home Hub integration in its security camera after a glitch caused the camera stream to go to the wrong person’s phone.